Riley Goes to Colombia Day 1 – February 10, 2016

Categories: 2016, Personal, and Travel.

We got up sometime after 4 AM, though I was up from 1-something until 2-something, due to my usual anxiety about leaving for a big trip, and because I was anticipating the alarm going off any minute.

We took the Union-Pearson Express, because it’s pretty much the only option at 5:30AM (unless you want to spend an hour+ on the night bus or spend $60 on a limo). I was pleasantly surprised by the trip – and fascinated by the route – but it is still incredible to me that a new, separate train was judged the best solution, not an extension of the subway, or the GO.

Our first flight was to Panama City. It was with Copa, an airline I had never taken before. The 767 was spacious and we all had our own TVs, with a great selection of music. I watched a barely-audible episode of Dual Survival and then The Departed.

Panama City felt extremely hot, both in the jetway (not air conditioned) and in the weird, bridge-type area between the main terminal and our gate. The airport is busy and a little dirty. And that was my impression of Panama City.

When we landed in Bogota, we were kind of worried, because we cannot speak or read Spanish and the customs form was in Spanish only (as it should be). But, lo and behold, because of reciprocity fees, the Bogota airport has an immigration line solely for Canadians. (The reciprocity fee is ostensibly due to Canada’s policy of requiring biometric information from Colombians. However, Canada is far from the only country that requires this of Colombians – we require it to comply with US policy, for example. Anyway…) The advantage of this is that we got an English-speaking agent and didn’t need to worry about are mis-filled immigration cards.

It took us close to an hour to get from the airport to our hotel, because we landed in rush hour and because Bogota is fucking huge. However, due to the cheapness of the cabs there, it costs maybe CAD$16.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the airport is on the other side of the city from the side you want to visit as a tourist. So it took a while.

I was utterly exhausted, having barely slept. But we had to eat, so we wandered around the extremely rich neighbourhood of Bogota we were staying in (Zona Rosa) and eventually settled on Kebabs. Yes, you heard that right. But we were both tired and hungry. And so that’s what we did.

I went to bed around 8:30 I think.

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